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Electromagnetic Signal

Function of time

Can also be expressed as a function of frequency

Signal consists of components of different frequencies

Time-Domain Concepts

Analog signal - signal intensity varies in a smooth fashion over time

No breaks or discontinuities in the signal

Digital signal - signal intensity maintains a constant level for some period of time and then changes to another constant level

Periodic signal - analog or digital signal pattern that repeats over time

s(t +T ) = s(t )

- < t < +

where T is the period of the signal

Amplitude maintain at a constant level for some period which can represent 1 or 0

Amplitude maintain at a constant level for some period which can represent 1 or 0 data.

at a constant level for some period which can represent 1 or 0 data. Varies in

Varies in smooth condition overtime i.e. continuous

Periodic Signal: s ( t + T ) = s ( t ) - ∞

Periodic Signal:

s(t +T ) = s(t ) - < t < +

Time-Domain Concepts

Aperiodic signal - analog or digital signal pattern that doesn't repeat over time

Peak amplitude (A) - maximum value or strength of the signal over time; typically measured in volts

Frequency (f )

Rate, in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz) at which the signal repeats

Time-Domain Concepts

Period (T ) - amount of time it takes for one repetition of the signal

T = 1/f

Phase (φ) - measure of the relative position in time within a single period of a signal

Wavelength (λ) - distance occupied by a single cycle of the signal

Or, the distance between two points of corresponding phase of two consecutive cycles

Sine Wave Parameters

General sine wave

s(t ) = A sin(2πft + φ)

Figure 2.3 shows the effect of varying each of the three parameters

(a) A = 1, f = 1 Hz, φ = 0; thus T = 1s

(b) Reduced peak amplitude; A=0.5

(c) Increased frequency; f = 2, thus T = ½

(d) Phase shift; φ = π/4 radians (45 degrees)

note: 2π radians = 360° = 1 period

Sine Wave Parameters

Time vs. Distance

When the horizontal axis is time, as in Figure 2.3, graphs display the value of a signal at a given point in space as a function of time

With the horizontal axis in space, graphs display the value of a signal at a given point in time as a function of distance At a particular instant of time, the intensity of the signal varies as a function of distance from the source

Figure 2.4

Figure 2.4

Frequency-Domain Concepts

Fundamental frequency - when all frequency components of a signal are integer multiples of one frequency, it’s referred to as the fundamental frequency

Spectrum - range of frequencies that a signal contains

Absolute bandwidth - width of the spectrum of a signal

Effective bandwidth (or just bandwidth) - narrow band of frequencies that most of the signal’s energy is contained in

Frequency-Domain Concepts

Any electromagnetic signal can be shown to consist of a collection of periodic analog signals (sine waves) at different amplitudes, frequencies, and phases

The period of the total signal is equal to the period of the fundamental frequency

Figure 2.5 ■ If the frequency components of the square wave with amplitude A and

Figure 2.5

If the frequency components of the square wave with amplitude A and –A can be expressed as :

square wave with amplitude A and –A can be expressed as : ■ Calculate the Data

Calculate the Data Rate for these cases:

Case I : Figure 2.5a with f=10 6 cycles/second.

Case II : Figure 2.5a with Bandwidth 8MHz and f=2MHz.

Case III : Figure 2.4c

Relationship between Data Rate and Bandwidth

The greater the bandwidth, the higher the information-carrying capacity


Any digital waveform will have infinite bandwidth

BUT the transmission system will limit the bandwidth that can be transmitted

AND, for any given medium, the greater the bandwidth transmitted, the greater the cost

HOWEVER, limiting the bandwidth creates distortions

Data Communication Terms

Data - entities that convey meaning, or information

Signals - electric or electromagnetic representations of data

Transmission - communication of data by the propagation and processing of signals

Examples of Analog and Digital Data







Analog Signals

A continuously varying electromagnetic wave that may be propagated over a variety of media, depending on frequency

Examples of media:

Copper wire media (twisted pair and coaxial cable)

Fiber optic cable

Atmosphere or space propagation

Analog signals can propagate analog and digital data

Digital Signals

A sequence of voltage pulses that may be transmitted over a copper wire medium

Generally cheaper than analog signaling

Less susceptible to noise interference

Suffer more from attenuation

Digital signals can propagate analog and digital data

to noise interference ■ Suffer more from attenuation ■ Digital signals can propagate analog and digital

Analog Signaling

Digital Signaling

Reasons for Choosing Data and Signal Combinations

Digital data, digital signal

Equipment for encoding is less expensive than digital-to-analog equipment

Analog data, digital signal

Conversion permits use of modern digital transmission and switching equipment

Digital data, analog signal

Some transmission media will only propagate analog signals

Examples include optical fiber and satellite

Analog data, analog signal

Analog data easily converted to analog signal

Analog Transmission

Transmit analog signals without regard to content

Attenuation limits length of transmission link

Cascaded amplifiers boost signal’s energy for longer distances but cause distortion

Analog data can tolerate distortion

Introduces errors in digital data

Digital Transmission

Concerned with the content of the signal

Attenuation endangers integrity of data

Digital Signal

Repeaters achieve greater distance

Repeaters recover the signal and retransmit

Analog signal carrying digital data

Retransmission device recovers the digital data from analog signal

Generates new, clean analog signal

About Channel Capacity

Impairments, such as noise, limit data rate that can be achieved

For digital data, to what extent do impairments limit data rate?

Channel Capacity – the maximum rate at which data can be transmitted over a given communication path, or channel, under given conditions

Concepts Related to Channel Capacity

Data rate - rate at which data can be communicated (bps)

Bandwidth - the bandwidth of the transmitted signal as constrained by the transmitter and the nature of the transmission medium (Hertz)

Noise - average level of noise over the communications path

Error rate - rate at which errors occur

Error = transmit 1 and receive 0; transmit 0 and receive 1

Nyquist Bandwidth

For binary signals (two voltage levels)

C = 2B

With multilevel signaling

C = 2B log 2 M

M = number of discrete signal or voltage levels


M=8 and B=3100Hz calculate the signal rate using Nyquist formula:

Answer: 18600bps

Shannon Capacity Formula


C = B




+ SNR )

Represents theoretical maximum that can be achieved

In practice, only much lower rates achieved

Formula assumes white noise (thermal noise)

Impulse noise is not accounted for

Attenuation distortion or delay distortion not accounted for

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Ratio of the power in a signal to the power contained in the noise that’s present at a particular point in the transmission

Typically measured at a receiver

Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR, or S/N)





10 log

signal power


noise power

A high SNR means a high-quality signal, low number of required intermediate repeaters

SNR sets upper bound on achievable data rate

Example of Nyquist and Shannon Formulations

Spectrum of a channel between 3 MHz and 4 MHz ; SNR dB = 24 dB

B = 4 MHz


= 251

3 MHz =




24 dB



= 10 log



Using Shannon’s formula

C = 10





(1 251)





× =


Example of Nyquist and Shannon Formulations

How many signaling levels are required?


= 2







M = 16


= 2 ×


= log

2 M










Classifications of Transmission Media

Transmission Medium

Physical path between transmitter and receiver

Guided Media

Waves are guided along a solid medium

E.g., copper twisted pair, copper coaxial cable, optical fiber

Unguided Media

Provides means of transmission but does not guide electromagnetic signals

Usually referred to as wireless transmission

E.g., atmosphere, outer space

Unguided Media

Transmission and reception are achieved by means of an antenna

Configurations for wireless transmission



General Frequency Ranges

Microwave frequency range

1 GHz to 40 GHz

Directional beams possible

Suitable for point-to-point transmission

Used for satellite communications

Radio frequency range

30 MHz to 1 GHz

Suitable for omnidirectional applications

Infrared frequency range

Roughly, 3x10 11 to 2x10 14 Hz

Useful in local point-to-point multipoint applications within confined areas

Terrestrial Microwave

Description of common microwave antenna

Parabolic "dish", 3 m in diameter

Fixed rigidly and focuses a narrow beam

Achieves line-of-sight transmission to receiving antenna

Located at substantial heights above ground level


Long haul telecommunications service

Short point-to-point links between buildings

Satellite Microwave

Description of communication satellite

Microwave relay station

Used to link two or more ground-based microwave transmitter/receivers

Receives transmissions on one frequency band (uplink), amplifies or repeats the signal, and transmits it on another frequency (downlink)


Television distribution

Long-distance telephone transmission

Private business networks

Broadcast Radio

Description of broadcast radio antennas


Antennas not required to be dish-shaped

Antennas need not be rigidly mounted to a precise alignment


Broadcast radio

VHF and part of the UHF band; 30 MHZ to 1GHz

Covers FM radio and UHF and VHF television


Capacity of transmission medium usually exceeds capacity required for transmission of a single signal

Multiplexing - carrying multiple signals on a single medium

More efficient use of transmission medium



Reasons for Widespread Use of Multiplexing

Cost per kbps of transmission facility declines with an increase in the data rate

Cost of transmission and receiving equipment declines with increased data rate

Most individual data communicating devices require relatively modest data rate support

Multiplexing Techniques

Frequency-division multiplexing (FDM)

Takes advantage of the fact that the useful bandwidth of the medium exceeds the required bandwidth of a given signal

Time-division multiplexing (TDM)

Takes advantage of the fact that the achievable bit rate of the medium exceeds the required data rate of a digital signal

Frequency-division Multiplexing

Frequency-division Multiplexing

Time-division Multiplexing

Time-division Multiplexing

Test Your Understanding

What are the characteristics of an analog and a digital electromagnetic signal.

What is the relationship between signal’s spectrum and its bandwidth?

What is attenuation?

Define channel capacity? List the key factors affecting channel capacity.

Describe how interference is avoided using frequency divison multuplexing (FDM)?